Talk about run and gun. The Mohawk men’s basketball team opened it’s Ontario Colleges Athletic Association basketball season with a thrilling 98-94 home win over the Algoma University Thunderbirds of Sault Ste. Marie.
Panyin Kyei had 30 points and newcomer Zivojin Tolmac added 20, in a game which went right down to the final seconds on Friday night. Both teams came out flying and were 16-for-16 after six minutes, until Algoma got up by 12 with only two minutes to go to halftime.
However, a late spurt by the Mountaineers saw them go to the locker room down 51-44. Mohawk managed to even the score at 57-57 just over four minutes into the second half. That’s when Algoma went on a 13-0 run in fewer than three minutes. Again, the Mountaineers kept plugging away, getting close on numerous occasions, only to fall back..
Mohawk’s hard work started to pay off and the Mountaineers passed their Fennell gym guests, setting up a frantic final 90 seconds. Kyei made a magnificent steal and was fouled with 16 seconds left. He made one of his free throws to put the home side up by three and Mohawk held on for victory. Head coach Brian Jonker noted his team used 11 players pretty evenly in the first half.
“It’s a strategy of ours, that we think we have the depth to be able to do that. Hopefully it pays off in the second half of games. So far, in every one of our games (including pre-season) it’s been a second half comeback, because I think we’re a little fresher than the opposition.”
Jonker agreed Kyei kept the Mountaineers in the game early and when they needed him down the stretch he came up with a couple of big steals and rebounds and played a fantastic game.
The Mohawk men continue a very busy playing schedule Saturday at 2:00 pm at the Fennell Gym against the Sault College Cougars. They then have three exhibition games in as many nights. Monday (Oct. 30), they play Laurier University at Mohawk’s Brantford Campus at 8 p.m. Tuesday they entertain Jamestown Community College from New York State at 8 p.m. at the Fennell Gym before leaving for Flint. Mich., on Wednesday to face Mott Community College.